There’s nothing better than winning over a new customer. Convincing someone to give your service or product a try, knowing it truly is going to benefit them and help them meet their marketing goals is exhilarating, and it can leave you feeling accomplished and satisfied. In reality, however, your ability to close new clients matters very little if you aren’t able to keep those clients or encourage them to be repeat customers. After all, the average client spends 67 percent more her third year as a client compared to her first year. It pays to retain your clients, and the ability to do so should never be deemed less important than your ability to bring on new revenue. 

Customer retention is a fickle beast, and if you aren’t trying various methods to help keep your clients happy, you’ll lose them, and who knows if you’ll ever see them again. How would you currently rate your ability to retain customers? Chances are, it could use a little work, which is why I’ve assembled, five creative and effective ways to keep the customers you have. 

1. Onboarding

Could your customers figure out how to use your product or service on their own? Sure. Should you let them? Not necessarily. Onboarding is a customer success strategy that involves personalized training based on each customer’s needs. This saves the customer headaches down the line and allows you to drive home how your product or service will help address their pain points. Plus, it will enable you to provide them with real-time support from an actual human being within your company. Offering up that personal touchpoint at the beginning of the relationship will set the groundwork and show your customers you’re the kind of company that cares about whether or not they experience success using your services. 

2. Feedback

This tactic often scares brands because they think they’re going to open the door for tons of critique and negative commentary. And that may be so, but the benefits of asking for feedback greatly outweigh the negative possibilities. 

What you think would make your product or service better isn’t necessarily going to align with how your customers see things. By regularly collecting feedback from your existing clientele, you’ll be able to pinpoint areas that need improvement instead of shooting in the dark, and focusing on various areas without any guarantee doing so will result in improvements. Plus, when people see that a business not only cares about what they think but puts their suggestions into action, they’re much more likely to be loyal. Develop and implement a system for gathering feedback from your customers so you can be armed with valuable information on how to keep them happy and coming back for more.

3. Rewards Program

If you really want to keep your current customers engaged, sweeten the pot by rewarding them for their loyalty and continued business. There are a ton of different ways you can set something like this up, and what you offer as rewards can vary greatly as well. Start small by getting customers to sign up via an in-person or online opt-in, and then use their information to send them promotions and exclusive “VIP” discounts. As an added bonus, you can also reward existing customers for referrals, which will help with both retention as well as customer acquisition.

Other ideas could be a yearly gift for the holidays, a special promo offer for birthdays or other milestones the customers may be experiencing. Making it personal will give it an added touch that will let them know you care about them as a person, outside of the business relationship. 

4. Social Responsibility

People love to do business with companies that share their values. When customers see that by shopping with you, they are indirectly supporting a good cause, you’ll win them over for sure. If you don’t currently have a team event or initiative aimed at giving back, make sure you consult with your team about various ways to get involved in your local community. Chances are, someone on your team already advocates for a particular charity or organization, or they may know someone who does and could use some extra help. 

Social good can be doing a variety of different things, but you should focus on acts that fit with your company’s schedule and your team’s passions. Maybe this means sponsoring a local school or recreational sports team, or volunteering with a charity that you care about, or pledging to donate a portion of every sale to a particular cause. This mustn’t be just a strategy to retain your customers. It should be something you genuinely care about and that you make a consistent contribution. 

5. Ongoing Education

Don’t just leave your customers high and dry once you’ve made that first sale. Show that you’re willing to invest in them for the long-term by providing them with ongoing education that will help them today, tomorrow, and five years down the road. Educate them and make it easy with drip campaigns and email newsletters. Establish an online knowledge base that can serve as a hub for all your most valuable content and any self-service tools and resources. You can also try creating a community forum or social media group where clients can go to ask your team questions or share other educational content that will help them. Not only will these things empower your customers and increase their appreciation, but it’ll take some of the heat off your support team at the same time. Win-win!

Yes, winning new customers is essential for your business. But keeping the ones you have now is even more necessary to your ongoing, sustainable success. The five strategies above should help you continue to build and nurture relationships with your existing clientele that will keep them coming back, time after time.